Joseph Griffin was detained briefly in the predominantly White neighborhood of Deltona, Florida last month while jogging. He has since been offered a job with that community’s police department.
Griffin, who works in the healthcare field, was offered a position by Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood. He was also offered the opportunity to lead several diversity sessions with the department. Griffin declined the full-time job but accepted the offer to help with bias training.
“It’s a big opportunity that I think could help change the relationship between policing and the community, on both sides,” Griffin told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
Chitwood told CNN that when he learned that Griffin was a former military police officer, the sheriff “asked if he would come in and do training with our entire staff. He was surprised about it and agreed.”
“We will start (the) training early October and keep doing it,” he said.
During the incident, which occurred on Aug. 27, Griffin was stopped as he was jogging by sheriff’s deputies who said he fit the description of a man who allegedly stole a weed eater/leaf blower from a home.
In the video, Griffin seemed surprised when approached by the deputies, who said that the man had on the same clothing. “So, I’m not saying it’s you, but it was a Black male—again—not saying it’s you, buddy.”
Griffin then begins recording the encounter on Facebook Live, telling officers that he just had a newborn daughter.
Upon their sergeant’s orders, they detained Griffin on the spot, handcuffing him. During the encounter, he spoke to Facebook Live, saying, “If something happens to me, you all better raise hell.”
Griffin was released once he was cleared of any involvement. The real suspect was arrested minutes later.
“Mr. Griffin was great with my deputies, and my deputies were extremely professional,” Chitwood said. “When you get stopped by police, this is how to act. This really is a teachable moment. We can learn from each other.”
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